The Explore and Discover staff is made up of caring and knowledgeable teaching professionals, each with an educational background in early childhood education and hands-on teaching experience. E & D provides teachers with exciting professional-development opportunities each year with the goal of maintaining program excellence. Staff turnover is low and allows children to develop consistent and strong relationships with their caregivers.
The bonds between young children and their caregivers take years to develop and should be nurtured and valued. E&D’s staff maintain these relationships, moving with children in their caregiving groups when the children are ready to change classrooms. We refer to this system as “Continuity of Caregiving”. Staying with groups of children also enhances the relationships formed between caregivers and parents. Our staff consists of an program director, assistant director, five full time primary caregivers, and one full time support teacher. All of our staff members are qualified early childhood teachers with years of experience and education in the profession.
Emily (Emmy) Lichtenstein | Executive Director
With Explore & Discover since September 2014
I am currently the Executive Director at Explore and Discover and have been since 2016. Before taking over as director here, I was the assistant director/ lead teacher of a caregiving group from 2014 to 2016. I love being the director of this community and plan to continue to help E and D grow to its full potential.
It took me a few years to decide what I truly wanted to do, but after getting a job in childcare back in 2005, I quickly realized that I wanted to work with young children. I then enrolled in school to earn my Associates of Arts in Early Childhood Education. After completing my AA, I knew I wanted to be a Director/ Administrator and had dreams to have a center of my own. After getting my AA degree, I wanted to learn more from and administrative perspective and continued to further my education, in Human Development and Family Studies. During my time in school, I was a nanny for six years for three great children that were 3 months, 3 years, and 4 years old. Now, six years later they are still a huge part of my life. At times it seems surreal that I have spent over a decade teaching students, but I am more than ecstatic to have found my true calling in life. Being a Director working with children, parents, teachers, and contributing to my community are true passions of mine that will continue to grow each day. Being able to be a part of the early childhood field and seeing children grow and develop is priceless.
I have always known that I would be a teacher. I began my journey working with children when I was twelve years old and started babysitting a newborn all day every Saturday. I have come a long way since then and have experience with children from birth through twelve years old. I have a bachelors in elementary education but, after falling into teaching preschool at a care center in Illinois, I have not wanted to go back to school age children. I fell in love with early childhood and have a passion for teaching children to love learning and literature early on. Plus, the messes and moments are the best! It’s chaos and miracles every day
I have been working with children for 18 years. I started after high school working with school age children and from there, over time, I worked with all ages of children. I enjoy working at E&D because of the closeness the families share and the community feeling E&D has to offer. I am also a mother of a beautiful daughter who likes to come in and help us out from time to time. We love to travel when we can and enjoy all the things mothers and daughters do together.
Rhianna Hanson | Teacher
With Explore & Discover since May 2017
I am a Colorado native and have always loved children. I was the child that always brought my baby doll everywhere. I am an avid reader and enjoy listening to music and watching movies. I have earned three certificates and my AA Degree from Red Rocks Community College. I plan on continuing my education in the future but presently I am excited to focus on my work with children. I look forward to watching children grow, learn, and become their own little people with their own personalities.
I’m Colorado native, although I have lived in Missouri, Washington, New York, and Illinois as well. I started working with kids at 21-years-old with the Boulder Valley School before-and-after-school program, which led to Daycare work (which led to me meeting Emmy!), and I have been a nanny for Sydney and Cooper for the last 6 years. In addition to childcare I have a background in Theatre (BA from UNC), Film (our own goofy stuff), and I have a culinary certificate from Escoffier School of Culinary Arts
Marisol Meza | Teacher
With Explore & Discover since June 2018
I’m 22 years old, born and raised in Denver Colorado. I always wanted to be a high school art teacher but life happened and I ended up going to Aveda Institute to become an Esthetician. After graduating, I realized my main passion was working with children. I started off working with Colorado Sub Agency, that lead me to Explore and Discover. I’m currently working on being a certified teacher so I can grow with my own group of kids.
Becca Birkeland | Teacher
With Explore & Discover since December 2020
Greetings! I’m Becca, a Minnesota native, and I am honored to be part of the E&D family. I have always wanted to be a teacher in some capacity- I learned this through babysitting and teaching swimming lessons in high school. I had my “a-ha” moment knowing I wanted to be in the field of early childhood in 2017 when I worked at a private Reggio Emilia preschool for the first time, and all of my ideas about teaching and children’s role in education were suddenly justified and valued. I appreciate that the philosophy sees children as strong and capable, and encourages teachers to pursue children’s curiosities. Pursuing my interests, I earned my Master’s degree in 2018 in Education and Human Development and have proudly been adventuring and learning alongside our youngest citizens since then. Besides children, a few of my favorite things are iced coffee, sparkles, sunshine and comedy.
Rosalee Kern | Teacher
With Explore & Discover since July 2019
I am married to my high school sweetheart and we live in Englewood with our two tiny dogs. I have been a teacher since 2011 and I can’t imagine doing anything else! I love working with Infants and Toddlers in particular; watching them discover their world and achieve their milestones is the most amazing thing. I feel so blessed to get to be a part of that.
When I am not loving on babies I am usually elbow deep in an art project and listening to good music. Art has taught me that the process is always more important (and more fun) than the result. I try to spread that passion for exploration to my students.